Rewards for all Matter
Reward is not a new concept and has been around for decades, even looking back at your childhood you learn that good behaviour will be your reward!
Businesses are recognising that developing and implementing rewards programmes can pay dividends. From airlines offering frequent flier deals, to white goods suppliers giving away big ticket items to the top performers to telecommunications companies rewarding every sale to grow market volume…
It is proven that reward programmes will drive employee & customer engagement, improve performance and motivation.
But ask the person sitting next to you or a colleague in another department what they want as a reward and we’d put money on the fact their answer would be cash, cash and more cash. That kind of thinking is what gets so many companies in a rut when it comes to rewarding loyalty. We all love to be rewarded – it is, after all, what gets those Happy Chemicals into overdrive, but, when put on the spot, actually figuring out what makes for a good, memorable, and desirable reward proves elusive.
Fortunately, our obsession with all things B2B loyalty at Incentivesmart has afforded us a unique vantage point. We’ve done our research, and know how to reward people without resorting to the impersonal and unmemorable conclusion of, ‘Cash’ll do’.
And, yes, we are great for Christmas and birthdays, too…
First, why do (good) rewards matter?
The answer is one that we are extremely passionate about: good rewards are remembered a lot longer than bad or unimaginative rewards are.
Take cash – something we’ve written about extensively before. On the surface, it’s great. Who would say no to a little extra cash? But, at the same time, how memorable is it? Once it’s been spent on a Meal Deal, a couple of drinks at the pub, or an extra dose of petrol for the car, is there any emotional resonance left behind?
So, that’s our first point: good rewards matter because they stand a higher chance of garnering a lasting emotional response from customers, which translates to that all-important buzzword for businesses: retention. It doesn’t have to be a tear-jerking, sentimental gift to do that, either. It just has to appeal to them in a way that’s more unique than cash.
But that’s not the only reason good rewards matter. It’s also important to consider…
Unimaginative rewards fail to capture customers’ imaginations. And, to drum up the kind of loyalty that really underpins a business’s success, you’ve got to capture your customers’ imaginations in a way that has them seeing your business (and its loyalty programme) as more than a business (with a run-of-the-mill loyalty programme).
We’re not saying you need to give them a Damien Hurst painting to get the imagination going, but by spending some time understanding your audience can have you getting those lips turning up at the corners, just because you took the time to be considerate to someone’s desires.
The same rewards over and over again will wear themselves out, and stop feeling like rewards. Limited rewards are not good rewards, and they’re not going to last you very long before customers’ eyes start to wander to other, better programmes. Brands can get boring if they don’t think beyond the obvious.
Irrelevant rewards quickly lead to apathy from your customers. It’s great to be rewarded, but only if the reward isn’t going straight to the bottom of a drawer or, worse still, the bin. If that happens, what reason do they have to come back again? Reward should not be a one size fits all either, reward should be tailored, personalized and specific for individuals. Don’t just throw reward at people for the sake of it, and certainly don’t just give people reward, that sometimes they will not really appreciate - know your audience. As an example, you may want to give away champagne, chocolate and a gift card for your employee of the month, or as a thank you to your customers. What happens if that person doesn’t drink, is dairy intolerant, or doesn’t use the specific retailer the gift card is for? The lack of thought can have a negative impact on the individual and their performance.
Good rewards don’t appear cheap, but they also don’t drain your bottom line. High-perceived value branded merchandise does have a place, but not sure how far a branded yo-yo goes these days. That’s why one of the key pillars of any successful rewards programme is investment. Good rewards are worth that investment.
The whole point of a reward scheme is to make customers work harder (AKA, stick with your company) in order to reap the rewards that catch their eye. If that’s not worthwhile, there’s no value to those rewards at all. If it is worthwhile to them, they will work harder to build the points needed to redeem that reward.
How do you ensure rewards for all matter?
We’ve talked a lot about the rewards customers don’t want – as well as the rewards you don’t want to give customers if long-term, genuine loyalty is your goal. So where on earth do you start when it’s time to stop thinking about the ‘don’ts’ and actually invest in some worthwhile rewards?
In case you hadn’t guessed it already, this is where we come in. At Incentivesmart, we have been steadily growing a reward collection that really offers something for everyone – something that will get your customer’s imaginations going as a result of variety, relevancy, value and meaning. Since your customers represent a diverse range of tastes and interests, our collection has a little of everything, from fashion and food to entertainment, travel, and tech.
Here's what makes our rewards so right for customers:
- Our rewards aren’t static.
Nothing stays great and exciting and imaginative forever, and, if you don’t change things up, your most loyal customers will be the first to lose interest, since they’ll eventually redeem everything and run out of enthusiasm for the programme.
- We emphasise choice.
Too much choice can make decision-making more complicated, but not enough can make things very boring, very fast.
- Our rewards are customisable.
What works for one company won’t be optimal for the next – and that’s why our rewards are customisable. You can pick from a selection that suits you and your customers (and your budget), or feature your own rewards instead.
- Rewards are offered within clearly defined structure.
We don’t overcomplicate things. Customers are more likely to lose interest if they’re going in circles through an app or webpage than they are to stick with it.
- Quality over quantity.
One of the things that underpins our reward programme’s high success rates is the emphasis we place on quality. We only work with key suppliers, so all the fat is trimmed off before the customer becomes involved.
- Clarity for you.
There are pros and cons to any reward you could offer, simply because there is no universally perfect reward out there. Understanding the pros and cons – the sort of scheme your choices will create for customers, is key, and that’s why we’re clear about everything – no sugarcoating.
Creating customer rewards that truly matter to everyone is about understanding your audience and tailoring your approach to meet their needs. It's about recognising the value of your customers and creating a rewards offering that feels genuine, exciting, and inclusive. By offering rewards that align with customer values, preferences and interests, you can create a sense of personalisation and relevance that drives loyalty and engagement, building those all-important long-term #RewardingRelationships.